Broken Vase titled ‘My Family is Lost’

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Broken ceramic vase and toy soldiers which form part of an artwork titled ‘My Family is Lost’, created by a young artist from Eritrea in 2016.

My Family Is Lost shows how families are broken apart as a result of war conflict. It consists of shards of a broken vase and a number of plastic toy soldiers, distributed to show a shattered family of four. The art takes inspiration from the ceramics of Grayson Perry. The artist is from Eritrea; many people flee Eritrea to escape the indefinite conscription that can mean a lifetime of military service.

The number of people fleeing their homes is currently the highest it has been since the Second World War. Since 2015, over 1.5 million people fleeing their homes from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan have arrived in Europe. Many have undertaken dangerous journeys to get here: crossing the Mediterranean Sea and surviving the Calais ‘Jungle’. The British Red Cross plays an important role in reuniting families who are separated as a result of war and conflict. The organisation helps to restore contact between families who have become separated as a result of conflict, migration or natural disasters.

The object resonated with me because a vase is an everyday household item which you may find in your home, however, seeing it presented in this broken way depicts how war breaks families apart.

I mentor a young refugee who currently lives alone in the UK after a tough journey from his country. For him, the scars of war remain, and while the vase displays a more visual representation of these, it is a reminder of the scars refugees and asylum seekers wear every day.

Audio recording by Roshan Adam (volunteer), London.
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